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China suspends tours to Philippines amid concerns over safety

(CNTV)

10:29, May 17, 2012

Chinese tourists visit Rizal Park, a historical park in Manila, the Philippines. (Xinhua/ Lv Xiaowei)

BEIJING, May 12 -- Chinese travel agencies have begun suspending trips to the Philippines amid concerns over safety. Chinese travelers are cautious over the recent dispute with the country, but remain hopeful for a peaceful resolution.

Planning a summer trip to the tropical islands of the Philippines? Tourists from China may need to reschedule. Beijing travel agent Dun Jidong says that recent tensions have made it necessary for his clients to suspend travel to the Philippines.

Dun Jidong said, "Safety is the prime concern in the travel business. We've learned there might be anti-China activities in the Philippines, which means a lot of uncertainty. To ensure the safety of our clients, we have suspended all tours to the Philippines. And we will monitor the situation as it develops. "

In a statement posted on its website on Thursday, the National Tourism Administration told Chinese tourists to avoid "unnecessary" travel to the Philippines and warned those who are already there to mind their security. And some travelers put off by tensions with the country are cancelling trips themselves.

One traveler said, "I understand the situation now is quite unstable. And I don't want to put myself in danger. So I am cancelling my plans to travel to the Philippines. "

CCTV reporter Liu Haining, said, "For many years, the Philippines has been one of the most traveled destinations of Chinese tourists. But it now means more than beautiful sunshine islands. Since April 10th, the Philippines, the Huangyan Island and the relationship between two countries have become one of the main focuses of Chinese readers."

Local newspapers have highlighted the island dispute with frontpage headlines and pictures. Nevertheless, many hold out hope for a peaceful resolution.

Mr. Zhang said, "I've never been to the Philippines, so the country is still in my travel plans for the future. Regarding the recent tensions, I certainly think confrontation will do nobody any good. So I hope we will find a peaceful solution. "

Mr. Tan, Beijing resident, said, "Huangyan Island does belong to China as shown in history. To ease the tensions, we need a calm and sensible strategy that considers the international situation and China's national interests."

The month-long island impasse began on April 10 when a Philippine warship entered China's territorial waters around Huangyan Island. Attempts to resolve the standoff have yet to be successful, but people are hoping for the best.

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